Businesses have changed radically in the last five years with the evolution of digital, cloud, and online capabilities.
4 Budget-Friendly Strategies to Engage Your Remote Employees
But, no one expected the acceleration of change that was brought about by the sweep of the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe.
Millions of businesses globally were forced to create work-from-home strategies to continue operations. By using cutting-edge technology, employees were remotely mobilized, and businesses continued to operate as best as they could. This not only meant a radical transformation in operations but in team management and HR strategies.
Although remote working has created an opportunity for business continuation during the pandemic, it has raised numerous human management challenges.
Companies have reported challenges in the engagement and accessibility of employees. Increases in human error, a deterioration of teamwork, and halts in training and development have been noted.
So, if you are a business owner or manager who is facing the challenging world of remote working, we thought we would help out. We put together some of the ways that companies all over the world are engaging their work-from-home employees and creating a productive, sustainable environment.
Host Virtual Events for Your Employees
Team buildings and company outings have always been a great way to re-connect employees, create out-of-office relationships and develop a sense of teamwork.
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It has always been highly promoted to create non-professional environments for employees to get to know each other. But when it comes to remote working, getting to know your work colleagues, and understanding their personality traits is more challenging.
Virtual events are a great, affordable solution to encourage your team to interact and engage in a non-pressurized environment. Employers can host a virtual party for remote teams, and encourage everyone to get involved.
Some employees might be reluctant to take part, and might simply not, due to the virtual nature of the event. In order to make it a success, you can plan it a week or two in advance, create a theme, and even make use of virtual party boxes which you can send to your teams.
Try and plan it during their working hours, in order to not cut into personal time, and keep the event somewhat brief.
Exercises like virtual quizzes, surveys, ice-breakers, or even online games can be a great way of connecting with your teams outside of the work pressures. So, come up with some great ideas that your team can get invested in, and hop on Zoom to connect with them.
Make Use of Online Platforms and Cloud Solutions
We mentioned earlier that non-accessibility and dwindling communication are one of the biggest challenges faced by remote employers. With these challenges in communication and team unity, you might be wondering how to scale a business during these challenging times.
Online communication tools and platforms make it easy for you to keep in touch with your employees and track their progress on certain projects. Presentations also play an important role in online business communications today. Using tools like PowerPoint templates can help you create visually impactful business presentations to engage more effectively with your team online.
Schedule regular meetings, calls, check-ins, and catch-ups with your full team, as well as individuals in your team. There are numerous platforms for you to do so, from Zoom to Teams, and even WhatsApp calls.
Keep your communication open and real-time with both individual employees as well as teams and groups with tools like Slack. Instant chat allows real-time problem solving and discussion to take place.
There are also a number of tracking platforms to monitor project progress and even time tracking. Tools like Monday.com and Trello allow for company-wide real-time overviews on projects. You can track project progress, set goals and deadlines, and change elements of the project.
Time tracking is also key for remote employees. Real-time trackers like Toggl enable employees to accurately monitor their hours spent on projects.
Optimize Your Remote Hiring and Onboarding Process
Some of the most impacted employees are the new hires in an organization. With businesses still having to hire new employees during the pandemic, they have had to adjust their onboarding processes significantly to cater to new hires.
Virtual settings tend to stunt the hiring process as deeper, personalized connections cannot be forged with the new hire. It is also incredibly tricky for a new employee to gain a good, first-hand insight into the company culture with all communication being done virtually.
It is important for the organization to optimize the entire process and ensure that the relevant managers and team members participate in including the new employee.
Regular check-ins from various team members and daily conversations with the line manager are critical. Team chats on platforms like Slack for both business and personal conversations are vital.
Consider creating a journey map for the new employee. Provide them with a survey to fill out, or a questionnaire about who they are and their journey in life. Schedule an ice-breaker or team meeting to introduce the employee, and lead the meeting with “get to know you” questions about everyone in the team.
Lastly, it is important to understand where the new employee’s weaknesses lie in order to prioritize the management of them. It is much easier to identify and manage areas of difficulty in person. Virtually, you will need to spend a bit more time and create an open environment to communicate and build up the skills.
Incentivize Engagement and Extracurricular Activities
Whether you are dealing with virtual communication or face-to-face employee management, recognition is one key element of employee satisfaction. It is important to create an environment where your employee feels valued and is rewarded for hard work and participation.
Unhappy employees are less likely to take part in company get-togethers, especially over a virtual platform.
They are more prone to completing their tasks and focussing on their personal lives once it is complete. You can start curbing this by encouraging a healthy, and incentivized environment for them.
A great team-building exercise is to create company-wide challenges with a reward at the conclusion. Health kicks, exercise challenges, or even artistic competitions are a great way to stimulate employees, encourage a healthy lifestyle, and create a bonding exercise.
Public recognition of employees’ hard work is also a great way to keep your employees motivated. Month-end virtual meetings are a great way to catch up with the team with monthly figures and reward performing employees.
If the budget is tight, and financial rewards are tricky, consider giving the employees a day off, or more flexible hours to work as an incentive. Flexible employment is becoming more and more important to employees, especially remote workers. So, it is important to take this into consideration when managing your remote team.
In wrapping up, it is important to keep in mind that the world has changed significantly since COVID-19 hit. Work from home and flexible working will certainly become the new normal.
Employees globally have been more and more inclined to push for a good work-life balance, in comparison to previous years of work-focused days.
If you do have physical offices that your employees can make use of, try and ensure that they can balance their remote and in-office working hours.
Not only will this result in more engaged and satisfied employees, but you will also be encouraging social distancing through limited employee contact.